How To Photography: 20 Tips For Excellent Results
Hello Explorers! Today I bring you “How to Photography: 20 Tips For Excellent Results”. Thanks to these tips I have been able to considerably improve my photography skills.
A FEW THINGS I’D LIKE YOU TO KNOW:
I did not study photography. Everything I have learnt has been through hours and hours of learning on Youtube, researching on the web and committing hundreds of mistakes while being out -or inside- shooting.
That being said, nowadays, I feel confident enough to say that I am way above the average photographer and, I genuinely believe you don’t need to study photography to be a fantastic photographer!
2nd: While I have done some portrait photography, the fields I like the most are Landscape and Travel Photography. The reason why you might find a bias in these tips towards them.
Finally, this 20 tips could be divided into two sections:
First 10 Tips: Are advices that you should aim everyday but you won’t accomplish in the short term. They are basically “always improving” goals
Last 10 Tips: Are short term and actionable advices that will help you to improve right away.
But before we start with the tips, what the greatest teacher in history said:
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Always pass on what you have learned”Yoda
1.- LIGHT IS EVERYTHING
Without light, we would not be able to see, and the camera would not be able to take pictures. While this might sound obvious, people don’t pay enough attention to the light.
The same scene can be completely different depending on the light that is receiving. The basic example is that daylight is harsher than the golden hour.
Light also changes according to latitudes and season of the year. Understand light, and you will have become already better than 95% of Photographers.
It is well known that the golden hour is the “best time” to take pictures. While I won’t say it is a false statement, I have developed a photographic style on certain times of the day that are not during the golden hour.
For example: the image above is the witte huis in Rotterdam. I took this image around 1p.m.
For a long time, I was not taking pictures during daylight because I thought it was “bad light”. This is something I regret.
Nowadays I am not cheap on the number of pictures I take. But I do know there are certain types of light -that happens on certain times of the day- that are more suitable for my photographic style.
3.- WEATHER IS YOUR FRIEND.
While people generally complain about rain, for me it has become my best friend.
During the rain, its perfect time to create “moody style” images.
After the shower, everything looks better. Colours have more contrast, making textures more detailed and vibrant.
Remember the tip above on mastering time? For me, the best time is when the storm is finishing and you can see some few sun rays hitting earth.
4.- “EDIT” BEFORE THE SHOOTING.
We generally take the picture; we transfer to the computer and edit it. It is like a “let’s see what it happens” situation.
One of the things that have helped me improve the most is “Editing Before Shooting”
What do I mean?
Whenever you are taking the picture, visualize how do you want the final version to look like.
Be aware: the most likely thing to happen is that it won’t turn out the way you thought it to be. Why? There could be lots of reasons, from you not knowing how to edit it or, that your image simply doesn’t work for that specific editing style.
But doing this will help you with:
- Developing a style
- Create consistency throughout your images.
5.- COPY AND MASTER IT
Copying other photographers is a great way to improve your photography. Copy, copy and keep copying.
And when you feel you are good at copying, master it.
What do I mean by mastering? Put your style on top of what the style you are copying.
DO NOT look at copying as a bad thing, here is why:
- If you are copying someone, it is because that person inspires you.
- If he inspires you, he is good or at least better than you.
- Copying is a way of learning. Basically, you are learning from someone better than you.
- While you copy that person, you will understand how that style of photography works.
- When you understand something, you can use it for your own.
You want to copy not because you want to be exactly like that person (more on this next tip). You do it because you are learning while doing it.
If you still don’t like this idea, then think of the following:
If you have ever studied something, you were copying. Either copying what the professor was saying or whatever was written on the board. You basically copied to your notebook what they knew. This helped you to process it and create knowledge out of it.
6.- 10.000 HOURS RULE
My grandpa was a pilot, he used to fly DC-6 aeroplanes, and he always said: “one more flight hour is one more flight hour.”
Like everything in life, improving your photography is 100% correlated with practice. The more you practice, the more you will get to understand it.
Go out, shoot and shoot consciously. Whenever you are taking pictures, try to find new angles, new subjects and try to understand what does not work for you.
Is how my firsts images look like. You can immediately notice that it its a messy composition, strong and non harmonious editing.
All in all, this is an image that I would simply not show to others (except for demonstration purpose like right now 😊)
7.- YOU WILL FRUSTRATE. DON’T.
You might think that I am joking with this one. I am not.
When you are starting, unless you are a prodigy, the most likely thing to happen is that your first pictures won’t be good. Simple as that.
The worst: you will think you are taking a fantastic picture. Then you get to your computer, and you realize it wasn’t so good. You then look at IG, and you realize you are nowhere close to those photographers you admire.
It is frustrating. But so it is for the others.
Nobody is born being an expert at something. Photographers are no exceptions. If they take amazing pictures, it is because they have been dedicating full time to it.
When I took I thought “this one is a banger. 3 years later I think it is over saturated and has poor composition
The images I am showing you in this blog are some of my best images. But being honest, for 1 “best” picture, I must have about 150 of other photos that aren’t good at all.
Don’t stress yourself. Don’t frustrate. Don’t try to be the best photographer. Simply try always to improve and be better.
This video is one of the first ones I ever made. If you watch it the main thing to learn about it is:
- I was more than once very disappointed on my photography. I kept going even though I wasn’t seeing immediate results.
- Watch one of my latest videos (they are about travel photography) and look how much I have improved. You can do it too.
After some time and many failures, you will slowly start to hear “that picture is insane.” It will make you feel proud AF
8.- EDIT AS MUCH AS YOU CAN.
Once you go shooting, the first thing I’d recommend you is to edit the pictures you like the most. Dedicate proper time to each of them.
Remember the copy tip? Try to edit it like the person you admire.
Done? Now edit it the way YOU like it. Use what you have learnt
9.- RE-EDIT YOUR OLD PICTURES
Explorers, I can’t tell you how much I like re-editing old pictures. A practice I didn’t use to do, but it is so useful! A few reasons why doing it:
- You will notice that the photography you thought was your rocket to fame wasn’t that good. This will not only help you to understand the mistakes you used to make but will give you a proper feeling of “dang, I have improved.”
- The picture might actually be a rocket to fame, but the editing sucks. Now that you have a proper style: re-edit it.
- The primary purpose of a photograph is to tell a story. Never forget this. While you improve your photography, you are also creating your own story. The best thing photography will give you is remembering those memories.
10.- FORGET ABOUT WHAT “EXPERTS” SAY.
Photography is like football. It seems like everybody knows what to do, and everyone can be a coach.
Try to find one person that can teach you (ejem, this blog) and guide yourself according to what that person says. You will soon realize that in order to take good pictures you will need to follow some guidelines, but they are just guidelines.
Still, the best way to improve is the 10.000 hours rule.
11.- LEARN THE MECHANICS, BUT DON’T OVERTHINK THEM.
Many “professional” photographers say you have to shoot in Manual. That’s a huge lie. While it is true that it will give you more freedom; it will also take more time for you to set it up. Shoot in the mode that suits you better for the shooting.
If shooting a sports event: you should most likely shoot in shutter priority.
If shooting a family event: most likely shoot in programmed auto.
I do think you should learn some basics of photography though you will notice that with time you won’t even be paying attention to shooter speed or F stop. You will just do it.
It is like learning to drive where you need to know which pedal is to accelerate and which one to stop. Then, your brain will automate this process. Again, the best way of automating this is by the 10.000 hours.
12.- CAMERA GEAR DOES MATTER.
I genuinely think that one of the biggest lies in the world of photography is “Gear doesn’t matter.” It does, and here is how:
- A better lens will give you a sharper image.
- Different focal distances will give you different perspectives.
- Full Frame will have a better depth of field than APS-C.
- A crappy filter will produce a poor quality photo. I’d better simply not use a filter instead using a cheapo one.
- And the list goes on…
But there is one reality that can’t be denied. Every camera does take pictures.
That being said, you can take good pictures with any camera but you will get better results if you know how to properly use your camera.
That’s why, master your camera, understand what things can and can’t do and you’ll noticed immediate great results and avoid frustrations.
13.- Frame your images
A great way to create interesting compositions is by framing your images. Either at one side, on top or bottom, framing is must go with.
It creates focus in your images, which not only creates a more interesting composition but also helps driving attention you the subject.
14.- Using the right lens
Using a lens according to your photographic style is extremely important
This is a good one. For me, it depends on four main factors:
- My style: With time, you will understand what kind and style of photography you like to shoot. I love shooting landscapes and travel photography. That’s why I like wide-angle and telephotos. But I also make lots of videos, so I need something in between.
- My budget: When it comes to photography, I do like buying quality stuff. But photography is expensive. Therefore, I’d buy according to what I can afford, and I would not spend in camera gear at the expense of the experience of taking the picture.
- Convenience: While I dream that all my lenses would be F2.8, even if I could afford them, the most likely thing is that I wouldn’t buy them. Simple: they are heavy. If you are like me and enjoy walking 15+ kilometres a day, then, saving those grams will be a wise thing to do.
- I always try to go with native lenses. It means having an overall better performance and saving time and space in things like convertors.
So, what should you do?
First, try to get native zoom lenses. If you have an entry-level camera, then I’d suggest the classic 18-55 and a 70-300mm lenses.
These lenses will cover most of the focal distances and what you will have to do is to understand which are the distances you are using the most.
Use that as your reference on which lens to buy and think of the 4 factors mentioned above.
Let me break down my purchase decision on my camera. Everything I currently have is a 24-70 F4, and this is why I got that specific one:
My style: I like telephoto and wide. But as I also use my camera for filmmaking, 24-70 gives me the best “all-around” lens. If needing more zoom, the Nikon Z6 has a cropped sensor that gives me extra zoom.
My budget: I could have bought me a wide and telephoto lens, but that would have considerably shrunk my budget to travel. Right now my goal is creating content, buying the 2 lenses would have meant reducing my travelling time from 6 to 3 months.
Convenience: Why did I not go for the F2.8?
- Nikon Z 24-70 F2.8 S cost US $2.300 vs $996
- Nikon Z 24-70 F2.8 S weighs 0.82kg (1.8lbs) vs Nikon Z 24-70 F4 0.65kg (1.4lbs)
- The Nikon Z6 + the 24-70 F4 costs US $2.396. You can get the camera and the lens for the cost of the 24-70 F2.8.
Also, while it isn’t something I consider when purchasing, I do think that you have to learn to use what you have. I still want to have a wide and telephoto lens, but being honest, I have adjusted my style to the 24-70 and haven’t had issues so far.
Maybe a few times I didn’t have enough zoom, but I’d simply change my composition.
Lastly, take your time to think and make a rational purchase. Buying gear will consume a big part of your budget, and there is nothing worst to spend money on something you are not going to use.
15.- Your Camera is Part of You
Same as a cellphone, your wallet or your t-shirt…
Okay, I might be overdoing it
But you really want to take your camera with you to as many places as possible.
For me, my camera is my partner. I travel with her, I take care of her, and I love using her (that sounds wierd haha)
If you use it all day long, you will be constantly using and trying to find new angles and forcing yourself to new creative styles. Just be sure to clean and keep your gear on shape. I recommend these cleaning kits, great to remove dust from the buttons, lens and sensor.
Quite self-explanatory, pay attention to your focus. While it is true that I have seen some good images that the focus isn’t on point, the general rule is that a well-focused picture, the better.
17.- APERTURE, DEPTH OF FIELD, F-STOP?!
Let me give you an easy way to understand this depth of field thing and everything related to it:
You adjust your f-stop to control your aperture which affects your depth of field.
Make this phrase your mantra, and you’ll never forget it
Another good way to understand It:
- A Small F-Stop = Wide Aperture = Short Depth of Field
- A Big F-Stop = Narrow Aperture = Large Depth of Field
Don’t worry, If you still don’t get it:
- Landscapes pictures (you want as much of the landscape in focus) use between F8 and F11
- Portrait pictures: (you want the eyes in focus and the background blurred) got somewhere between F1.4 – F1.8 and F4
- Night Photography: You want the smallest F Stop your lens can give you
18.- RAW OF JPEG?
Same picture, in JPG and Raw format. JPG = 7,9 MB / Raw = 47,7 MB
- Raw: an uncompressed image that contains more information and therefore has to be edited.
- JPG: a compressed picture with the adjustments of your camera’s manufacturer picture profile
So which one should you use?
If you are planning on taking a picture and never edit them, go for Jpeg. If you aim to be the greatest photographer in the world, shoot RAW.
I shot Raw + JPG. Why? The jpeg pictures are fantastic to share in WhatsApp groups. That way, my mom does not complain, saying I am never sending her pictures. For every other purpose, I’d go for RAW.
19.- KEEP IT TIDY
Year 2020 > March > Perú > Fotos > D1
Explorers, there is nothing worst than not knowing where did you save that awesome picture of 3 years ago. Create your custom folder structure to keep your photos organized.
Mine goes: Year>Month>Destination> Fotos >Day 1 (for day 1)
And every edited image, I’d save it up to different folder but similar structure
Mine goes: Year>Month>Destination>Fotos > Edited (Listas)
Understand the basics rules of composition.
The rule of thirds, guiding lines and symmetry to enhance your pictures.
But this one is exciting and an important topic, that’s why I’m going to write an entirely new blog dedicated to it
No body is born with a camera, everyone goes through the same learning curve. How fast you become a good photographer will depend on how much time you dedicate to it.
The tips above are thought so you can pay attention to them in your process of being a better photographer. Remember, first 10 are “long term” goals while last 10 are actionable.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE
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